Is your e-commerce brand prepared for the coming 2020 online retail explosion?
This year's COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated several workplace trends such as work-from-home initiatives, online conferencing, and virtual learning. Increasing comfort with online shopping coupled with a fast-spreading virus will almost certainly result in record numbers of e-commerce receipts, too.
Business Insider projects that e-commerce shoppers will spend $190.47 billion this year on holiday buys, up a whopping 35.8% from 2019. Meanwhile, experts say in-store holiday sales will decline by 4.7%. When surveyed, between 42% and 62% of American shoppers say they plan to do all their holiday gift-buying online.
The pandemic is not disrupting our industry. Instead, it's simply advancing the timeline for e-commerce growth. E-commerce and multi-channel retail have been nipping at traditional outlets for years. Funds that consumers once spent on travel, attractions, and show tickets will get redirected into online purchases and virtual experiences in 2020.
Here's what we're seeing in online commerce this holiday season:
- 61% of retailers will likely ramp up their online and social media marketing initiatives in anticipation of holiday e-commerce sales.
- Forrester anticipates that certain sectors will see the highest numbers of in-store decline: health and beauty, home furnishings, consumer electronics, and fashion.
- Supply chains could sag, lag, or even snap due to heavier-than-usual demands on their capacity.
- Thanksgiving Day may see the biggest ramp up of the five cyber sales days since many in-store retailers will stay closed, giving shoppers a chance to browse online from home.
Despite — or perhaps, because of — a wonky economy, a contentious and divided electorate, and a once-in-a-century pandemic, consumers still plan to spend heavily this holiday season. They'll just spend differently than they did last year.
How can your e-commerce brand position itself for success in these unusual times? Here's what we recommend:
1. Audit your website.
Does your site take longer than three seconds to load? If so, half the potential buyers who visit on your site will click off. Check that all your information is up to date. You especially want to make sure that prices, sales tax, shipping, and the return policy are correct. Finally, be sure your site is SEO optimized.
2. Improve checkout.
You probably know that 7 out of 10 shoppers abandon carts and the number shoots up to 8.5 out of 10 on mobile. Did you know, however, that optimizing your checkout experience can increase conversions by 35.62%? Recommendations, size guides, order reviews, and a general air of excitement can make all the difference.
3. Keep customer loyalty paramount.
4. Personalize the shopper experience.
According to a Harris poll, just 34% of consumers believe e-commerce retailers deliver exceptional customer experiences. The key to a personalized e-commerce experience is making the right recommendations. Use what you know about your customers' geography, demographics, and behaviors to decide what you'll recommend. And this time of year, you'll also want to showcase your holiday offerings.